Niners prefer ‘three-headed approach’: Over the past few seasons, few backs have been as consistent as Frank Gore. But that consistency could take a hit if Trent Baalke’s vision is put into practice. The 49ers general manager says the team prefers to take a “three-headed approach” to the running back position. That groan you hear is fantasy owners lamenting yet another running back committee taking over an NFL offense. While it likely means more work for Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James this season, it does more to diminish Gore’s value since he’ll see some of his touches lost.
Jackson back to returning punts: After transitioning out of the punt return game for the past three seasons, it looks like DeSean Jackson will once again take his talents to special teams. The speedy receiver sounds excited about the opportunity, but it begs the question: what does it mean for his role in the offense? All offseason, Jackson has speculated about what he would be asked to do under Chip Kelly — surmising that he’d have a similar role to his cousin, De’Anthony Thomas, as a hybrid WR-RB option. Kelly himself has suggested nothing of the sort, leaving Jackson’s fantasy value something of a mystery. At Oregon, players were more likely to rack up receiving yards out of the backfield as opposed to from a receiver spot. Jackson’s value should still remain fairly strong in leagues that include return yards, but it could take a hit elsewhere.
MJD’s rehab progressing: Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew has remained on schedule in his rehab from last season’s foot surgery. During the team’s OTAs, MJD has been running on his own and says he’s pretty close to being back. Ultimately, the veteran plans to be back to a full-scale regimen by late July. 2012 was a lost season for Jones-Drew, but with nearly a full year to get ready there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about a bounce-back in 2013.
— Follow Marcas on Twitter @MarcasG